An Indiana supporter suggests that the eighth place Hoosiers can get into the conference tournament by taking three of four from Michigan State and Michigan takes three from Northwestern. If IU were to sweep MSU, Michigan would only need to take two from NU to see the Hoosiers get in. IU holds the tiebreaker over the Wildcats.
Another BTH reader sends along this thought:
I noticed an interesting phenomenon in the standings: right now, Northwestern is in 6th at 13-15 (.464) ahead of 7th-place Michigan State at 12-14 (.462). But if both teams sweep their series, Michigan State will be at 16-14 (.533), ahead of Northwestern at 17-15 (.531). This means that even though Northwestern is ahead of Michigan State right now, Michigan State is the team that "controls its destiny" in the conference race, and not Northwestern!That's just plain wacky. If either or both of the scenarios presented is true, there's simply no end of the possibilities. Nor is there anyway to predict what's going to happen.
I'm hoping to take in a game or three over the next several days, so how often I'll be in front of the computer is questionable. Obviously, I'll make some attempt to share what I've seen, but let me continue to encourage you to toss up scoring updates, highlights and comments over the weekend.
Get out to the ballpark near you. They can use your support.
Thursday Update #1: We are off to a crazy start. Indiana beat Michigan State, 9-2. Northwestern has only three hits, but Michigan has committed three errors and the Wildcats lead, 4-2, in the fifth. Iowa is up on Ohio State, 2-1, in the fourth. Minnesota has gotten off to a 2-0 lead over Penn State in the second. Purdue at Illinois is in a rain delay.
Basically, all the lower seeds are up on the higher seeds while the second and third place squads are watching it rain. Perfect. Instead of guessing what all of this means right now, let's wait a few hours and see what plays out.
Thursday Update #2: Michigan has battled back and leads NU, 7-4. It's the seventh inning in Ann Arbor. Ohio State has also come from behind to take a 3-2 lead over Iowa. They are in the seventh inning at Iowa City. Meanwhile, the Gophers have put their foot to the floor and are running over PSU, 8-0, in the fourth.
And it wouldn't be right if we didn't have a rainout, so the Boilermakers and Illini cooperated. Today's game was postponed and they'll try to play doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday. Friday will have a nine-inning affair followed by a seven inning game and the reverse will occur on Saturday. Weather permitting, of course.
Thursday Update #3: Now, that I've been reminded what day it is ...... Michigan 9 Northwestern 4, Iowa 4 Ohio State 3 (10 inn.), Minnesota 11 Penn State 6 (8th). Onto the standings.
Penn State 15-14
Ohio State 13-14
Michigan State 12-15
Although, PSU is losing, they have to take some solace in knowing that the three teams immediately below them have already lost today. Indiana's hopes for the post-season are still alive and they have to be thankful for Michigan's comeback tonight keeping NU within reach.
As an aside, we've been discussing the likelihood of Michigan hosting a regional. Here's what the gang over at Ping! had to say about the Wolverines in their latest Top 30 poll, where Michigan checked in at #11 in the land:
If Michigan (38-11) defeats Notre Dame and wins the Big 10 regular season and tournament titles, the Wolverines deserve to be a top eight seed for the NCAAs.A top eight national seed? That's a pretty strong statement.
Aside #2. The University of Michigan has released information about ticket sales for next week's Big Ten tournament. Hope everyone can make it up to Ann Arbor. I just have to decide if I'm getting the seatback chairs in advance or just opting for the bleachers (which, fyi, are actually the seats closer to the field in the renovated park) on the day of the game.
Oh, Minnesota did beat Penn State, 11-7. I'll update the standings above.
Friday Update #1: Here are the standings based on the early results from Saturday.
1. Michigan 25-4
2. Purdue 19-9
3. Illinois 15-13
4. Penn State 15-15
5. Ohio State 14-14
6. Indiana 14-17
7. Northwestern 13-17
8. Michigan State 12-17
9. Minnesota 9-20
10. Iowa 9-21
Here are the finals thus far:
Michigan 7 Northwestern 1
Indiana 7 Michigan State 6
Indiana 7 Michigan State 3
Penn State 5 Minnesota 3
Purdue 14 Illinois 4
Ohio State 12 Iowa 2
IU's sweep in East Lansing keep the Hoosiers post-season dreams alive. However, I believe MSU's hopes of playing next weekend are finished. I could be wrong, but the best the Spartans can do is win tomorrow giving them a 13-17 mark. Thirteen W's isn't going to be enough.
NU is beating Michigan in the second game of their twinbill, 2-0. It's the sixth inning in Ann Arbor. If the Wildcats hold on, they will be tied for sixth place with the Hoosiers, but I believe IU holds the tiebreaker over NU. If Indiana and Northwestern have the same record at day's end, tomorrow's games will be very interesting as the weather in Michigan tomorrow is supposed to include precipitation.
Penn State is up early on Minnesota, 2-1. They are in the bottom of the first. Purdue's Jon Moore just went yard and the Boilers have jumped all over the Illini. It's 5-0, Boilermakers and they are still batting in the top of the first. The Buckeyes and Hawkeyes are just underway.
Friday Update #2: NU's Eric Jokisch shutout Michigan, 2-0. Iowa takes game two from Ohio State, 7-4. Minnesota topples Penn State, 9-7. However, I can't seem to track down the nightcap between Purdue and Illinois.
I'm going to present the standings next. However, let's be clear on two things. First, I could be wrong. Second, I've been checking boxscores for the last ten minutes and I'm convinced that the programs themselves aren't sure what everyone's record is. (Let's leave it at that.)
I went to the "official" Big Ten website and combined today's results with their W-L record through yesterday. It's the best I can do.
Penn State 16-15
Ohio State 14-15
Michigan State 12-17
Michigan, Purdue, Illinois and Penn State are in. The last two tournament spots are still up-for-grabs.
OSU and IU hold their fate in their own hands. If they win, they are in. NU, however, needs help to make the Big 10 Tournament.
Early Saturday Morning Update #1/Late Friday Update #3: Either way, Purdue beat Illinois, 13-8 in game two. I've updated the standings above.
Lunchtime Saturday Update: Proving, once again, that I'm not the sharpest pencil in the box, I had Illinois in third place when PSU has moved ahead of the Illini. My apologies to Nittany Lions fans everywhere. I've revised the standings immediately above.
Good news on the weather front, it's partly sunny here in the mitten. That should allow both the NU/UM and IU/MSU tilts to be played before the rain returns later today. For those contemplating a trip to Ann Arbor this coming week, the early forecast for the Big 10 tourney has sunny conditions with temperatures in the sixties on Wednesday with increasing temperatures and chances for thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday.